White House Celebrates Country With Paisley, Krauss; CMA Underwrites 40 W.O. Smith School Students

W.O. Smith School students

The White House Music Series will celebrate Country Music on July 21 with performances by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss and Union Station. Forty students from the W.O. Smith/Nashville Community School of Music will be able to attend the once-in-a-lifetime trip to Washington, D.C., concert and educational workshop at the White House, thanks to the Country Music Association underwriting all their travel costs with funds from CMA Music Festival and “Keep the Music Playing,” which supports music education.

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum was asked to provide an educational component at the workshop, and will send one of the students who participated in its Words & Music educational program during 2008-09, Sal La Rosa, and Gary Michael Smith, the professional songwriter who added a melody to Sal’s lyrics, to the workshop to perform their composition “The Girl in the Hallway.”

The educational workshop will host 120 middle and high school students from across the country. In the evening Paisley and Krauss will perform in the historic East Room before the President – who will make opening remarks – the First Lady, students, White House staff, and Members of Congress.

In addition to the White House event on July 21, the W.O. Smith School student musicians are scheduled to meet U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville), sit in on the House of Representatives while it is in session, and visit monuments on the National Mall.

GAC (Great American Country), which has supported the W.O. Smith School since 2005, will have a video crew on board the student’s bus in addition to taping the performances in the White House East Room for a one-hour news special hosted by Storme Warren, airing exclusively on GAC in early August.

The music series, hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama, celebrates the arts and arts education. It launched last month with a focus on Jazz and will continue in the fall with Classical music.

The Country Music Celebration is presented with assistance from The Country Music Association, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and produced by the Grand Ole Opry and Great American Country Television.


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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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